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Wikihouse: Design and Build your Own Affordable Home

The ability to design and build your own house is becoming a reality thanks to Alistair Parvin and the Wikihouse project.

Wikihouse is an open source construction community that allows anyone to design, print, and build their own structures, making personally designed architecture both accessible and affordable.

The designers of the Wikihouse project had the goal of making architecture a collaborative project that drives down costs without sacrificing creativity and individuality. Parvin emphasizes that the innovation of architecture is to design smarter, not more expansively or expensively. He backs this up by creating components that are numbered and use interlocking wedge and peg connections instead of countless bolts and screws. Within a day, a couple of people could build a small home without any construction skills or power tools. The pieces are designed to be light enough to lift up by hand but still be durable.

So how does it work? To design your own structure, you can download a free plugin for Google’s SketchUp,  an online software that allows you to design 3D structures. Follow some basic how-to instructions to understand sizing and how things fit together and you’re ready to design. Once you have finalized your design, you have a blueprint file equipped to send to a CNC machine to cut plywood into interlocking pieces. Construction costs are thereby substantially lowered, with the only expenses being for materials and machining. After you have the labeled pieces cut, grab a couple friends and have your structure assembled in only a couple days.

The Wikihouse project gives new meaning to 3D printing by allowing anyone to design, download and print components that can be assembled with minimal training, skill, and cost. This allows for quick and easy solutions to housing crises as well as creative outlets for the architecturally inquisitive.

Keara Wright

Aspiring creative author and astrophysicist, with degrees in Physics, Mathematics, and Psychology.

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